Tomorrow the SHORE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT really kicks off.  People will be talking about the past and whose record against whose is better. They will discuss last year and the year before, as if those players are still around. Each year is different, so while the past is nice to discuss, it will mean nothing to the young ladies playing now.  Some will compare scores and debate who has the best team, or coach. It’s all  fun and exciting, it makes for great conversations. But at the end of  the day, it will all be settled on the court. The 5  favorites from here on out are heavy favorites. But to make it to the finish line …there are some things everyone should think about.


There are a lot of STARS in this years SCT. None bigger than Kimi Evans of SJV.   There is no question she is  the one player capable of taking a team out by herself.  She creates so many problems it would take days to list. She can also take over games with her defense and rebounding.  The real question is can your star put your team on her back and carry your team home from this point forward. Dezzy Allen, Dara Mabrey and Hannah Scanlan all fall into this category.

Nobody has a weapon like Mullaney off the bench

Nobody has a weapon like Mullaney off the bench

Can your team go to its bench and still win? When it comes to using the bench no coach is even close to Dawn Karpell. She creates roles for all 10 of her players. They know they will play in the meat of the game and they never look over their shoulders. They all play big in big games and their roles don’t change based on the opponent. All are battle tested and play their roles to a “T” and are ALWAYS READY. The SJV bench is talented, but more importantly it has been used wisely by Dawn Karpell and she is not afraid to use it. There is never a question of if they are playing or when then are playing…THEY KNOW. But nobody has a weapon like Lola Mullaney off the bench. She is capable of carrying Manasquan in games. Somebody is going to run into foul trouble or an injury. Somebody is going to have a bad shooting night, somebody is going to get injured or sick. When this happens, your teams bench is either going to shine or be exposed. Has your bench been used in big spots this year? The SCT is not a place to start finding out if they are ready…that ship has long sailed!


Moore is deadly and get on monster type rolls

Moore can send a team packing at any point

 DO YOU HAVE SHOOTERS? Sorry…if you don’t have shooters…you are not winning the SCT… nothing is more important in a Tournament.  I’m talking When your team is struggling to get buckets, you better have a shooter that can get you those unscripted points. Somebody like Dara Mabrey, Tori Hyduke.  A great shooter can single handily knock you out of this tournament. Like if a Hayley Moore, Josie Lakins or a Katie Foos get on a roll, they could send your team packing. There is a flip-side to shooters though. They can also shoot you out of this tournament as well. If there is one thing I am 100% sure of…it’s this…Somebody is going to have to knock down big shots to win the SCT, and I’m not just talking one shot…Do you have a knock it down shooter who has played in the meat of BIG games that matter?

The best closer of ALL TIME?

The best closer of ALL TIME?

DO YOU HAVE A CLOSER? Nobody is sailing though the tournament, closers close quarters and games. Manasquan may have the best of all time and certainly the  best in the business these days.  Now here is something, I learned a long time ago. Throw out shooting and free throw shooting percentage until the last 2 monuutes. If they missed the big ones in big games, during the season…they are missing in the SCT.  Closer’s don’t turn the ball over or make bad decisions late. You have a closer? Now be honest, do you trust your closer? Because if you don’t, secretly your team does not trust them either. Does your closer know when to pass and when to shoot?  Remember your closer is not always your best player or even a player. A closer can be a coach, Lisa Kudoda right now is one of the best closer’s in the business. Her teams are shockingly great at the end of games and quarters. Joe Montano forget it, if he gets a chance to close…its a wrap.  Now here is something everyone forgets…sometimes your closer never gets the chance to close, because in order to close you need to be in the game late with a lead. The SCT is not the place to try and find a closer….

Reynolds is a baby that has been in the fire

Reynolds is a baby that has been in the fire

THE BABY FACTOR, ARE YOU READY?  Now don’t tell me how good your babies played this year. I don’t care about their stats. I want to know what your babies did against the real teams. How did they play in your 4 biggest games of the year. Did they see real time in the games that determine your season and seeding. No baby had more responsibility than Kermari Henderson and Paige Slaven against real competition. Don’t tell me about a play or shot a baby made in a game. Tell me what you babies did in the heat of big games.  Now is your baby a part of the team or are you really counting on them to WIN IT?  Middletown has a baby, the has proven she can carry them in big games in Kayla Richardson.  If your babies have put up good numbers in blow-outs, but have zero numbers in the big games…don’t expect them to all of a sudden blow up in this event, this event has real killers. What’s the status of your babies? If they have to go from role player to prime time player can they do it?…can your baby do this? 

The Manasquan seniors have more big game experience...THAN ANYONE

The Manasquan seniors have more big game experience…THAN ANYONE

SENIORS, ARE YOUR READY? If your team is not loaded with seniors your team’s job is a little harder.  Those seniors must have experienced success in  big spots along the way. Winning a big game or tournament can’t be new to them. RFH has 3 seniors and they’re good…as in real good, but they have no rings.  St Rose has two of the best  seniors in the state and not rings . Ashley Tutzauer  will lead her young TRN team but is this  level of play too new for teammates. The SJV seniors have seen and won it all, that is something they can lean on when it get hot. Having battle tested seniors is something that gives you a real edge in these events. Seniors don’t panic and they play with a passion when they know the end is in sight….NOBODY HAS SENIORS LIKE MANASQUAN. What about your seniors? Are they ready?

Slowing JENNA PAUL down has been a difficult task

Jenna Paul will need to step up

CAN YOU TEAM HANDLE THE PRESSURE? Manasquan, may be the favorite but they know all eyes are on them, anything but the title will be disappointing. RFH  has had a monster season, but a quick exit will take the shine off a great season. TRN needs to advance or their season or their season becomes a big …what if?  St. Rose knows that anything less than a title and the haters will be out in full force. Neptune, Middletown and are playing with house money, but not in their first round games.  RBC on the other hand knows that this could be the year. SJV knows people only expect one thing and that championships. All this adds up to pressure, can you team handle that pressure that comes with winning the SCT?

Dave Callahan needs to find a way past the big 4

Dave Callahan  has shown he can get his team ready

Does your coach have a track record of success? These games are going to be tight and somebody is going to win it or lose it based on decision making from the sidelines. Will your coach give your team and edge with the officials? Your coach better not panic and they better have those new offensive sets, out of bounds plays and new trapping defenses all ready to go for the SCT. Your coach better have some new stuff to throw at opponent’s, because everyone knows everyone right now. You coach got some new stuff? Your coach better not start over coaching and trying to be the star. Your coach better be prepared coming out of time outs, last second situations. Now possessions really matter, because these game are going to close. How are your rotations? They better be set and everyone better know, when they are playing. Too late to start changing now folks…you are who you are.  In the end these games are going to come down to how your coach handles the pressure at the end of the games…they will need to make all the right moves! Your coach ready to do this? Your coach ready for the surprises, bad calls and heat of the spotlight? 

number1-editedWHO WILL BE #1?

The bottom line is that nobody has all the above ingredients going into the SCT. But somebody is going to face every one of these obstacles before a champion is crowned. The team that handles these challenges the best is going to be our winner. Right now I BELIEVE the TOP 5 TEAMS HAVE  the best chance to pull it off.  They are all capable of beating each other. IT’S THE SCT AND ANYONE CAN WIN IT… WITH A LOT OF LUCK AND BREAKS.






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